Dear Reader,

"So many books, so little time." That thought comes to me every time I walk into a bookstore or a library. More than any other medium, the written word has the power to capture the entire range of human experience—all of our knowledge and culture and emotion and entertainment and insight. With so many wonderful books, often surrounded by quite a few mediocre ones, how we select the books to which we devote our time is vitally important.

I’ll admit that I’m more obsessed with this than most people. I’ve spent countless hours combing bookshelves, clipping thousands of book reviews, studying author biographies, checking books off of reading lists. Yes, my family and friends think my behavior is a little over the top.

In an effort to save time, I searched high and low for a comprehensive source I could trust for literary advice. I pictured a research team hard at work for me: summarizing book reviews, highlighting the best works of classic authors, polling experts on non-fiction recommendations, and uncovering everyday readers’ favorite books. I looked everywhere, but that team, that one source, that dream magazine didn’t exist.

So Allison Nelson and I created it.


When we published our first issue, we mailed several thousand preview copies to libraries, bookstores, and friends of friends. And like many of our favorite books, we spread by word of mouth, faster than we ever dreamed. We weren’t even available on the newsstand when major newspaper critics hailed the magazine, saying “it’s about time” and that our unique approach would “put us over the top" (San Francisco Chronicle). Just nine months later, Library Journal proclaimed us a “Best New Magazine of 2002.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called us "the kind of publication book readers should love." As it turns out, not everyone clips thousands of book reviews. But readers appreciate it when someone else does.


Starting Monday morning, the staff at Bookmarks pores over the Sunday book reviews, the week’s new magazines, and the latest news, reading every last bit of fiction, non-fiction, and children's book coverage. We catalog and rate each new book from each review, looking for consensus, evaluating differences of opinion, and searching for that great unsung book that quietly got one or two enthusiastic reviews. Every two months we publish the results of our research in the New Books Guide portion of Bookmarks—all the ratings, critic quotes, and summaries you need to make the best reading choices.


We love classics as much as new books. In each issue we take an in-depth look at two noteworthy authors, discussing their lives and their major works. By the time we’re done, you’ll have a better understanding of the writer, his or her best (and least best) works, and what book to start reading today.


In each issue, we also choose a topic and consult a panel of experts for the best books on that subject. American Biographies, Writing, Islam, Gardening, American West, Jazz, War, Yoga—if you ever wonder what one book you should read about, well, everything, we’ll have the answers.


Finally, we ask our readers and their book groups to write about their favorite books—the most meaningful, the ones they’d take to a desert island. We publish a compendium of these inspiring lists in each issue.


The sad truth is that most book reviews are written for people who will never read the books themselves. We take the opposite approach: we pledge not to reveal the ending or revelatory plot points when discussing a new fictional work. You will never have to read one of our reviews worried that you may have to look away at any moment.

Less Than the Price of One Bad Book!

Simply put, Bookmarks celebrates books with an intelligence and a wide-eyed enthusiasm that no other publication has to date. We are the best source of ideas for your reading list. And an entire year of Bookmarks costs less than just one poorly-chosen book. If indeed there are so many books and so little time, won’t you let us help you find the best books? That way, you can save your reading time ... for reading.

Jon Phillips
Editor & Publisher
Bookmarks Magazine
1818 MLK Blvd. #181
Chapel Hill, NC 27514